The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman is a devastatingly realistic look into the life of a homeless child. It tells a realistic story of abuse and homelessness, and yet also is a story of hope. The book is set in India, and follows the two main characters, young girls named Viji and Rukku as they run away from their abusive household and live alone on the streets. They meet other characters and try to survive the harsh life. The book is written as letters in flashbacks from an odd mixture of first person and second person perspective. It gives a unique insight on the characters and helps the book stand out well.
Viji is a resourceful and smart young girl, and she helps her sister Rukku, who has a cognitive disability as they try to survive on the streets of Chennai, India. They find shelter under an abandoned bridge, where they meet Muthi and Arul, two homeless boys of about the same age. They scavenge in trash piles to scrape up enough money for food, and live in a way where they often fall ill.
The Bridge Home is short and heartbreaking. It’s nearly impossible not to read in one sitting, and to finish without tearing up. For the level that it is written for, it might be too dark and depressing, however, the subject matter is important and the problems are very real problems. Overall, the book has a few unbelievable moments, but is still a 5/5 book that will very likely wriggle its way into your heart.